India thrash Sri Lanka in the Galle Test

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Spectators present at the Galle Stadium for the first Test between India and Sri Lanka this week must have been reminded of the Tsunami which hit Galle in 2004 claiming many lives.

The Indian batsmen did not claim any life but destroyed the confidence of Sri Lanka cricketers and cricket lovers by thrashing them by 304 runs in the first Test with more than a day to spare yesterday (Saturday).

With Shikhar “Dham-dhama-dham dham” Dhawan belting a hurricane 190 with 31 fours and Cheteshwar Pujara a polished 153 with 13 classy fours, India totalled 600. After Dhawan and Pujara had put on 253 runs for the second wicket, Ajinkya Rahane (57), Ravichandran Ashwin (47) and Test debutant Hardik Pandya (50 with five fours and three sixes) continued the assault.

Medium-pacer Nuwan Pradeep was the only Sri Lankan bowler to restrict Indian batsmen’s domination somewhat, claiming 6 for 132.

Then India’s left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took 3 for 67 and Sri Lanka was dismissed for 291 (WU Tharanga 64, Angelo Mathews 83 and Dilruwan Perera a gallant and unbeaten 92 which included 10 fours and four sixes).

Despite a huge 309 run lead, India’s captain Virat Kohli did not enforce the follow-on. He declared the innings closed at 3 for 240 (Kohli scoring a quick 103 not out and Abhinav Mukund 81).

Set a Himalyan target of 550 runs to win, India dismissed hosts Sri Lanka for 245 (Dimuth Karunaratne 97 and Niroshan Dickwella for an adventurous 67). India was victorious by 304 runs with more than a day to spare, spin-duo of Ashwin and Jadeja taking three wickets each.

Dhawan was adjudged Man of the Match for his spectacular 190 in the first innings. He was lucky to be selected as the regular openers Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul were injured.

At the presentation Dhawan said, “I really enjoyed batting over here. I just watched the ball and backed my game. There is a very healthy competition for the opening spot in the side, and it keeps me on my toes.”

An elated Kohli added, “We lost a Test we should have won in 2015 here. This time it was a clinical performance two years down the line. Really happy with the way things went in this Test. The surface did not offer much, and that’s why the win is special. We have to work hard. It’s an example of the skill they possess, and persistent pressure always pays. That’s something we believe in. The opening competition is a happy headache. It felt nice that it came off nicely. Abhinav [Mukund] batted well and he deserved a hundred.”

The second Test starts on 3 August at Colombo and the third and final Test on 12 August at Pallekelle, Kandy.

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